Issa wants classified briefing on Libya intel

Fresh off his hearing on security deficiencies at the U.S. mission in Libya, House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) on Wednesday called for a classified briefing on what the Obama administration knew — and when — about the causes of Sept. 11 attack in Benghazi.

“Right now, what we've agreed to, [ranking member Elijah] Cummings [(D-Md.)] and I, is formally asking for a classified briefing so that a lot of what wasn't discussed here, the committee would have knowledge of,” Issa told reporters. “And of course that's not an open hearing.”

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He said it would be modeled on Tuesday's hearing for the Republican chairmen of committees of jurisdiction over intelligence and foreign affairs, and should include Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and the FBI. Asked if he would invite the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, Issa said “not necessarily.”

Republicans on Issa's committee have been chomping at the bit to go after Rice, who told five Sunday shows five days after the attack that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans that initial intelligence suggested an anti-Islam video posted to YouTube had caused the violence. The administration later said the attack was an act of terrorism.

Reps. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), and Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) all told The Hill they think the committee’s next move should be to request Rice to testify before the panel.


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“President Obama, Secretary Clinton, and Ambassador Rice have a lot of questions to answer,” said Chaffetz, the chairman of the committee's panel on national security. Chaffetz said it was up to Issa to decide whether to request her for another hearing, but that he’d “love to hear from her sooner rather than later because she’s got a lot to explain.”

Issa himself told The Hill that “someone in Congress will cover some of these ambiguities.”


— Jordy Yager contributed.